Advertising on a clinic’s website or in electronic media which claims to have significantly better success rates compared to the average of all other clinics can be misleading. Unequivocal claims can create unrealistic expectations of taking home a baby.
One couple told us they had taken out a bank loan because they could not afford more than one cycle. They said that they had the best chance of taking home a baby if they went to a particular clinic as it had the best success rates.
AccessAustralia raised our concerns with the professional body, the Fertility Society of Australia about this practice by some clinics.
The Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee, the licensing body, has since released a Technical Bulletin reminding clinics of their obligation to comply with the “Guidelines for Advertising Regulated Health Services” of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulations Agency (AHPRA). Clause 6.2.1 states that:
“Using comparative advertising often risks misleading and/or deceiving the public because it can be difficult to include complete information when comparing one health service with another” and may be in breach of the National Law regarding misleading and deceptive conduct.
To help, AccessAustralia has produced a fact sheet titled How to Choose an IVF Clinic and Understand Success Rates. Choosing a clinic based solely on reported success rates can create unrealistic expectations about the possibility of having a baby at a particular clinic.
Our fact sheet details the multiple factors that should be taken into account before making a financial commitment to a particular clinic. In addition, it includes a list of questions consumers can ask their doctors about the treatment they are considering.
Other clinic websites highlight some of the anomalies that can impact on IVF success and offer a more balanced claim that their clinic is “among the best”. This allows consumers to make a fully informed decision when considering treatment.